The ranks of popular superheroes have swelled in the last decade, with countless caped crusaders becoming household names in the way that only the Batmen and Spider-Men of the world were previously afforded. The end result has been an abundance of crimefighters fighting for the comic book spotlight, and a large number of superheroes who deserve crossovers ending up on the sidelines of continuity instead.
As such, several of the seemingly biggest names in superheroing have gone years without being the central figure of a big-time Marvel or DC Comics event. It’s not that these characters haven’t been doing anything in the interim; they just haven’t been grabbing headlines in the same way their colleagues have - which can leave some fans in the dark when it comes to their latest comings and goings.
- Photo: Marvel Comics
Last Big Moment: There once was a time when Johnny Blaze was such a premium Marvel character that he attracted Nic Cage to the role, but those days are long gone. Blaze hasn’t been the focus of a crossover event since his days with the Champions in the '70s, though he did play an important part in 2012’s Circle of Four.
What He's Been Up To Since: These days, Blaze isn’t even the most prominent Ghost Rider in Marvel Comics. That honor definitely goes to Robbie Reyes, who currently has a roster spot on the Avengers and was adapted into TV’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. For his part, Blaze hasn’t been up to much, until he perished in the 2018 Doctor Strange storyline Damnation and then used the opportunity to usurp Mephisto’s throne as the King of Hell. Fellow motorbiking Ghost Riders, like Danny Ketch and Alejandra Jones, have faded even further into obscurity.100Stuck on the sideline?
- Photo: Marvel Comics
Last Big Moment: Daredevil was the focus of the 2010 crossover Shadowland, albeit as the Hand-controlled central villain. Immediately following that, Matt Murdock hit the road for some soul-searching and then returned to New York for a celebrated solo series that lasted 36 issues and saw him both publicly reveal his identity and move to San Francisco.
What He's Been Up To Since: After his girlfriend Kristen McDuffie was threatened by Typhoid Mary, Murdock sought out a way to regain his secret identity, and he found it through less-than-ethical means. When he discovered that the Purple Man was using his own children as human batteries to enhance his mind-control powers, Daredevil freed them - and in return, they erased the world’s knowledge of his alter ego. He’s spent most of his time since getting back to basics and rebuilding his life, though some rough patches have ensued, like the time his sidekick Blindspot was literally blinded, or the time he accidentally beat a random criminal to death.102Stuck on the sideline?
- Photo: DC Comics
Last Big Moment: Damian Wayne, son of the Batman and the latest to wear the mantle of Robin, was slain by his own clone in the conclusion to Batman Incorporated, only to be resurrected shortly thereafter in 2016’s Robin Rises - after which he set out on a Bruce Wayne-esque journey around the world to find himself.
What He's Been Up To Since: The events of DC Rebirth saw Damian take over the leadership of the Teen Titans, stepping into the shoes of his old mentor Dick Grayson, and start sharing a comic with Jon Kent, son of Superman. He also went through a weird phase of suspecting that Deathstroke might be his real father, though this proved to be a hoax. Despite all this, Damian has been largely absent from the actual Batman titles for years now, with his only notable appearance featuring him taking a beating from his alternate-reality grandfather and then having to watch Bane snap Alfred Pennyworth’s neck.81Stuck on the sideline?
- Photo: DC Comics
Last Big Moment: Following a New 52 reinvention to more closely resemble the clean-cut Oliver Queen of TV’s Arrowverse, the Green Arrow enjoyed a brief period of time in the DC Comics spotlight - earning a starring role in several ancillary Justice League comics, such as Justice League of America and Justice League United.
What He's Been Up To Since: The continuity revamp of 2016’s DC Rebirth gave Queen several of his classic comic book elements back, including his trademark facial hair and his relationship with Black Canary. But he’s also been shuffled off to the side and his adventures have been almost entirely contained to facing off with social injustice in his solo comic - which ended in 2019 and hasn’t been restarted as of yet.81Stuck on the sideline?